Vatican critique of book confuses catechesis, theology, CTSA board says
By Catholic News Service
ST. LOUIS (CNS) — The Vatican “inappropriately conflates the distinctive tasks of catechesis and theology” in its criticism of the 2006 book Just Love by Mercy Sister Margaret Farley, according to the board of directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America.
“In our judgment, however, Professor Farley’s purpose in her book is to raise and explore questions of keen concern to the faithful of the church,” the board said in a one-page statement. “Doing so is one very legitimate way of engaging in theological inquiry that has been practiced throughout the Catholic tradition.”
The congregation said Farley’s book contains “erroneous propositions” on homosexual acts, same-sex marriage, masturbation and remarriage after divorce that could cause confusion and “grave harm to the faithful.”
It said the book “is not in conformity with the teaching of the church” and “cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counselling and formation, or in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.”
The June 7 CTSA statement was signed by president John E. Thiel of Fairfield University in Connecticut, president-elect Susan A. Ross of Loyola University in Chicago and past president Mary Ann Hinsdale of Boston College, as well as seven other board members.
The board expressed particular concern with “the understanding of the task of Catholic theology” expressed in the notification.
“The notification risks giving the impression that there can be no constructive role in the life of the church for works of theology that 1) give voice to the experience and concerns of ordinary believers, 2) raise questions about the persuasiveness of certain official Catholic positions, and 3) offer alternative theological frameworks as potentially helpful contributions to the authentic development of doctrine,” the statement said.
The CTSA board said “faithful Catholics in every corner of the church are raising ethical questions” about the issues explored in Sister Farley’s book.
“In raising and exploring such questions with her customary sensitivity and judiciousness, Professor Farley has invited us to engage the Catholic tradition seriously and thoughtfully,” the statement added.
Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops